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Das Rezipientenpassiv als Applikativkonstruktion 

Oya, Toshiaki

Linguistische Berichte (LB), Bd. 2015 (2015), Iss. 243: S. 81–115

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Oya, Toshiaki


Nowadays it is widely believed that the so-called recipient passive in German is a real syntactic passive. In this article, however, it is argued that the recipient passive in German should be analyzed in the same way as the construction with have and a past participle in English, especially on the basis of the considerations in McIntyre (2005, 2006). According to this analysis, the synonymous relationship between recipient passives and corresponding active sentences with a dative argument results from the meaning that the verbs bekommen/kriegen and the dative argument have in common and that is represented by an applicative head. Hence, the recipient passive in German is a type of applicative construction. It is also pointed out that the verbs bekommen/kriegen lost their achievementhood in the recipient passive and the semantics of these verbs is thus the same as that of have in English. Furthermore, it is shown that the recipient passive in German is an 'Ausweichkonstruktion' (= replacement construction) in the sense of Kirchner (1952) and that the recipient passive often contributes to the topic continuity in discourse.